European activists protest at meeting of European Health Ministers for access to new HCV drugs

Community press statement

On 22nd September, a coalition of leading European community health organisations protested against the limited access to new oral drugs to treat hepatitis C.

This involved a non-violent “sit-In” of people living with hepatitis C and their allies at the Mico Conference Center, Milan, to advocate for, and demand, a clear political and public health commitment and leadership from the twenty eight member states of the European Union and from the European Commission itself.

Activist demands included:

  • To ensure, that all patients in serious clinical situations have immediate access to more effective therapeutic combinations of DAAs without interferon in compassionate, free use when there is no Market Introduction Authorisation (MIA) and no current adequate alternatives;
  • To commit publicly to provide treatment over the next fifteen years to all, with the best available combination therapies for the elimination of hepatitis C in a sustainable and affordable way in all European health care systems;
  • To allocate financial and technical resources to prevent, diagnose and treat hepatitis C, with a view to its elimination;
  • To invest in the diagnosis and referral to health care of all people living with hepatitis C;
  • To promote evidence and human rights based drug policies that ensure the access of people who use drugs, the group most affected group by hepatitis C, to treatment;
  • To engage in meaningful conversations with the pharmaceutical companies and involve community leaders, including representatives of organisations of people who use drugs, in the process of finding fast and sustainable solutions to providing universal access to hepatitis C treatment.

Organisations involved included: EpaC, ELPA, LILA, Nadir, European Civil Society Forum on HIV/AIDS, EATG, Aids Action Europe, ELPA, World Hepatitis Alliance, INPUD, Correlation Network, Eurasian and European Harm Reduction Networks and International Harm Reduction Association (IHRA).

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